Working with Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth and Their Families

Presenters: Rachel Simon, LCSW, MEd and Katelyn Regan, LSW, MEd

Date: October 20th, 2018
Time: 11 am - 1 pm | 2 CEs
(Please arrive at 10:30 am for registration, refreshments and socialization.)
Location: Philadelphia PA

This Coffee and Conversations will explore some of the basics of gender identity, language and terminology, diagnostic considerations, and therapeutic aims in working with transgender and gender diverse populations and their families.

Transgender youth encounter many stressors when they initiate their transition process. One such stressor is parental rejection and lack of support (Ignatavicius, 2013). This is an extremely vulnerable population because most transgender youth are dependent upon their parents for emotional support, food, and shelter. Parents who reject the gender-diverse identity of their child make it more difficult for them “to access support, transition-related medical care, or mental health services without their parents’ involvement” (Ignatavicius, 2013, pp. 269-270). This causes substantial psychological distress for the transgender individual because they are not allowed to be their authentic self at home or are ridiculed for their gender expression.

All clients enter therapy with their own biases and preconceived notions, parents are no exception. When working with transgender youth and their families, the therapist must first seek to understand how accepting parents are of their transgender or gender diverse child. These children are often “rejected by family, school, church, peers and other communities of origin” (Haynes, 2015), which leaves them grappling with the grief of potentially losing closeness with their family as well as experiencing feelings of rejection, anxiety, and depression. Thankfully, some parents are more accepting and fully willing to adopt a new name and pronouns for their child, but they do not know how to begin the transition process or how to tell their family members. No matter how parents relate to their child, therapists should strive to normalize the experience of being transgender, as well as provide basic information about gender identity to advocate for their child.

One therapeutic modality that lends itself particularly well to working with gender exploration is narrative therapy. Susan Saltzburg (2007) explained that transgender youth have a personal understanding of themselves that is at odds with the messages that society, their family, and friends convey to them. Saltzburg wrote, “These narratives of the two, parallel storied life-trajectories did not match for the youths, adding to their anxiety about how to positively story their lives as LGBT in a largely non-accepting world.” (Saltzburg, 2007, p. 58). Narrative therapy helps clients address social oppression and create (or re-create) their own story (Miller, Cardona, & Hardin, 2006). Learning a client’s narrative also allows the therapist to analyze how major life events and the transgender youth’s environment have affected their identity formation.

Clinical Objectives:

  1. Gain an understanding of the basis for sexual and gender minority identity
  2. Learn some new language to discuss gender
  3. Discuss professional and practical skills for identifying gender dysphoria in youth
  4. Explore ways of supporting patients and parents to increase acceptance of their identity

Haynes, R. (2015, September 5). Towards healthier transgender youth.
Ignatavicius, S. (2013). Stress in female-identified transgender youth: A review of the literature on effects and interventions. Journal of LGBT Youth, 10, 267-286.
Miller, B. J., Cardona, J. R., & Hardin, M. (2006). The use of narrative therapy and internal family systems with survivors of childhood sexual abuse: Examining issues related to loss and oppression. Journal of Family Therapy, 18(4), 1-27.
Saltzburg, S. (2007). Narrative therapy pathways for re-authoring with parents of adolescents coming-out as lesbian, gay, and bisexual.Contemporary Family Therapy, 29, 57-69.

About the Presenters:
Katelyn Regan, LSW, MEd, is the clinical social worker at the Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where she works with transgender and gender diverse youth and their families. She provides one on one psychotherapy, connects families to trans-competent care close to home, and schedules medical appointments for the clinic’s 700+ families. Katelyn also provides education and training to medical, counseling and education professionals about the complexities of gender identity and how providers can become more inclusive in their respective practices.

Rachel Simon, LSW, MEd, is a social worker and psychotherapist who offers sexuality education to youth, parents, educational faculty, and health professionals. She received both Masters degrees from Widener University, and received her BA in Psychology and LGBT Studies from the University of Maryland. Rachel has provided training and consultation on LGBTQ issues for groups in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and D.C. She currently practices clinically at the Walnut Psychotherapy Center in Philadelphia, as well as in private practice, specializing in queer and transgender populations.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the continuing education credits.

Cost: No charge for PSCSW Members to attend; $20 for Non Members to attend. There is a $10 fee for anyone wishing a CE certificate.

Cancellation Policy:
PSCSW Members: There is a $5 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.
Non Members: There is a $10 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program. No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours notice is given for this program.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome at the program. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).
FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for clinical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4)

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:

  • October 20, 2018
    11:00 am - 1:00 pm